Someone will have to explain to me why this vert has the reputation of being markedly inferior to its PCE Soldier siblings. I put off buying FS for ages because many people had pronounced it mediocre, and I ultimately came to regret my procrastination. Once I finally got around to buying the game, I discovered that it rules.
The armament system is initially the most impressive part. FS allows players to select a number of weapons from a huge batch that consists of all sorts of beams, flames, bubble bombs, and swirly ring-type things. Its large assortment of devastators is quite preferable to the skimpy gun sets offered in Super Star Soldier and Soldier Blade.
Its visuals are also pretty nice, much more appealing than SSS's. Granted, some of the backgrounds come off as uninspired, but that's kind of the way of things with this series. At least FS's graphics are very sharp and fairly colorful, and they improve as the game goes along. The rockin' music is pretty good too. The influence of Blazing Lazers can be detected in the last-level tune.
I can think of only two aspects of the product (other than the at-times-drab backdrops) that people might consider flaws. For one thing, the levels are quite long... but at least the action is consistent and there are midbosses to contend with. For another, FS is a lot easier than SSS and SB... but I don't particularly care about that, as it's a lot of fun anyway.
Space verts often commence with an assault on an outpost, but this opening level is anything but generic.
While their respective tunes are nice, the second and third boards don't offer up anything particularly fresh visually...
...but the fourth level's urban area and its awesome eagle boss mark vast visual improvement on earlier stages and adversaries.
Enemy bases are generic visual downers in most shooters, but the one here is actually quite impressive.